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Quarters on a roll

Quarters are back.

Many people probably didn't realize that they had even left.

They are a workhorse of the economy.

However, production dropped hugely as the Great Recession forced many Americans to cash in their hoards and collections of state quarters to help pay the bills.

The drop in production took mintages to its lowest point in 2010 when just 347 million quarters were struck. This total was divided up among five designs and two mints.

When collectors want to find modern clad key dates, the 2010 year, which was the first for the America the Beautiful series, is the place to look.

In 2013, quarter numbers have come back strongly. The Mint struck almost 1.5 billion pieces. That was up by 256 percent from the year before when 568 million came off the presses.

There were also five designs in 2013 for the ATB series.

White Mountain quarters had 107.6 million struck in Denver and 68.8 million in Philadelphia.

The Perry quarter numbers were 131.6 million for Denver and 107.8 million for Philadelphia.

Great Basin output was 141.4 million at Denver and 122.4 million in Philadelphia.

Fort McHenry numbers are 151.4 million for Denver and 120 million for Philadelphia.

Mintages for the final design of the year for Mount Rushmore jumped to 272.4 million Denver pieces and 231.8 million Philadelphia.

These mintages will likely render the 2013 quarters to common status among collectors, but still, compared to quarter mintages in the year 2000, they are low.

In 2000, quarter output was four times 2013 production at 6.47 billion pieces.

It will be many years before the Mint will reach that year 2000 quarter number again.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper is winner of the 2013 Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."